Note: As always, consult with a veterinarian for the best food fit for your pup!
When you first get a new pooch, it may take time finding a brand and type that both you, your wallet and your pup love. Still, it’s nice to have a place to start from. That’s why we’ve rounded up ten of our favorite dog food brands for you and your furry friend to try out.
In an effort to stay fair (and prevent heart attacks), we tried to find a variety of foods at different price points. But as you likely already know, any super affordable dog food brand (you know the ones) are not always great health-wise for your pup.
But, an easy way to check out the 411 on whatever dog food you’ve been using is to search for it on DogFoodAdvisor.com. The insanely awesome site has cataloged and reviewed over 3,000 pet food products, including both wet and dry dog food options. They break down each food with a star rating and go into great detail to explain their rating, including picking apart ingredients and how the food is made. To ensure we were picking right by you and your pup, we confirmed that all of our choices meet the five star approval rating on the site.
None of this info will shock you. Just like humans do best when they eat real food, your dog’s system won’t do well over time on a heavily processed diet. We know you love real ingredients and care about what treats you dog gets. Just think, most pups eat the same thing everyday, sometimes twice a day. If you make it something awesome, they’ll enjoy eating and feel good too. That means a shinier coat, more energy and an increased lifespan!
Without further ado, here’s our top ten picks for dry dog food:
1. Wellness Core
The Wellness Core product line includes seven dry dog foods, six which claim to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance. This above-average dry product has a dry matter protein reading of 38%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%. What does this mean? The brand is way above-average with protein, near-average with fat and below-average with carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food. As you might have guessed, these are all very good things. Plus, tons of flaxseed. Yum!
Best shopping bet: Amazon.com, $53.95 for a 26 lb bag
2. Taste of the Wild
The Taste of the Wild product line includes seven dry dog foods, and they’re all pretty great. Our top pick is Taste of the Wild High Prairie Formula, which reached it’s five star rating on DogFoodAdvisor (note: not all of their products did, though none were less than 3.5). The food has a protein-boosting effect through its pea protein, peas and flaxseed, as well as a potato protein and garbanzo beans. It’s grain free, made with purified water, and suitable for pups of all ages.
Best shopping bet: PetFoodDirect.com, $44.89 for a 30 lb bag
3. Solid Gold Barking at the Moon
Solid Gold Barking at the Moon has been designed for performance dogs (that of course doesn’t mean that your pup’s gotta be training for the doggie olympics to eat it) and meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance. The first ingredient here is ocean fish meal, which may sound disgusting but is actually awesome because it’s considered a meat concentrate. That means it contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself! Plus, unlike most fish meals, this one is ethoxyquin-free – big ups! If nothing else, the name and bag design are truly glorious.
Best shopping bet: Amazon, $85.99 for a 24 lb bag.
The Orijen product line includes six dry dog foods, all of them puptastic. We love that it contains herring (a fatty marine fish naturally high in protein), as well as omega-3 fatty acids and essential oils. These are things needed by every dog to sustain life. It’s got tons of great proteins (including eggs, which are super easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value) and – a personal favorite – probiotics. Just like they do for us, probiotics work to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
Best shopping bet: Petflow, $78.99 for a 28.6 lb bag.
5. Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck Meal and Turkey Meal
The Nature’s Variety Instinct product line includes five dry dog foods, and while all of them are great (and five star rated), we especially love this formula. Lots of good protein (from concentrate) and a few interesting and great ingredients (tapioca, canola oil, pumpkin seeds and alfalfa meal). We also love the use of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root. It’s both a natural source of soluble dietary fiber and a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Best shopping bet: Chewy.com, $69.54 for a 25 lb bag
6. Natural Balance Synergy
Synergy is a good word, right? Aside from the obvious good meat ingredients, this food has beet pulp (for intestinal health and blood sugar benefits), oatmeal (naturally rich in B-vitamins and dietary fiber), flaxseed and brewers yeast (which repels fleas and supports the immune system). It’s topped off with salmon oil, which is naturally rich in the EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids. All in all, super good stuff for pups!
Best shopping bet: Chewy.com, $51.49 for a 28 lb bag
7. Merrick Classic Beef, Barley and Carrot
The Merrick Classic product line includes seven dry dog foods and all are pretty great (though the lamb, brown rice and apple combo did get a four star rating). This one boasts sweet potatoes, which is a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates and a naturally rich way to get dietary fiber and beta carotene. It also has pork fat, which may sound gross but is great for flavoring while being high in essential omega-6 fatty acids. Lastly, it contains chelated minerals, which are minerals that have been chemically attached to protein, making them easier to absorb. If you want a quick way to see if a dog food is high grade, check for this ingredient. Almost all super healthy, above-the-line dog food will have it.
Best shopping bet: Chewy.com, $52.98 for a 30 lb bag
8. Honest Kitchen Embark
The Honest Kitchen product line includes seven dehydrated dog foods, three of which got high marks on DogFoodAdvisor. Our favorite is Embark (teehee), an insanely wholesome food for pups. Embark is a gluten-free dog food recipe made with cage-free turkey, as well as produce such as celery, spinach and apples. It is a higher protein, higher fat natural human grade dog food that works for all ages. It’s obviously great for dogs who need a diet without gluten, but is also good for those who need a low carbohydrate dog food, and those who do better without beef or fish. Mix with water and serve!
Best shopping bet: MyNaturalMarket.com, $93.09 for a 10 lb box (which makes 40 lbs of food)
9. EVO Turkey and Chicken Meal Formula
EVO Dog Food is grain-free and hits the spot with the three major areas of importance. It’s fortified with minerals, easily digestible and high in protein content. It’s also low in carbohydrates, with a mix of ingredients that promote healthy skin and coats. High in nutrients and energy dense, this food will help keep your pooch active. Plus, it’s amino acids and essential minerals will keep pups’ strong muscles and bones intact!
Best shopping bet: Chewy.com, $46.89 for a 28.6 lb bag
10. Canidae Single Grain Protein Plus
This is our favorite of the many awesome Canidae food products. Why do we love it? Made in the U.S.A., all of the company’s products are made without corn, wheat, soy, grain fractions, or fillers and are all naturally preserved. Released in 2010, the nutritional focus of Canidae Single Grain Protein Plus is to offer 29% total protein, while restricting its food’s grain source to rice (exclusively using a wholesome combination of both brown and white rice). Additionally, it offers five high quality protein sources in total, beginning with fresh chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish meals.
Best shopping bet: Wag.com, $40.49 for a 30 lb bag